healthy + seasonal recipes that are gluten & dairy-free

Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza and Cinnamon Almond Fudge

Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza and Cinnamon Almond Fudge

I have two recipes for you today, as my way of apologizing for my lack of posts lately. So sorry! But they're good ones - one for dinner, and the other is a treat that has become my favourite snack lately.

Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza and Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen

To explain a bit further: the last two work weeks have been the most stressy-crazy-hectic-trying that I can remember ever experiencing, which is saying a lot since I regularly refer to zoos or circuses when describing the "regular" pace of things. And somewhat predictably, it's caught up to me and I am feeling a bit under the weather. Not full-blown sick (thank you, super-strength oil of oregano!) but definitely approaching it. That's where my veggie-packed meals of late come in.

Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen

I suppose I should back up just a bit, since I've never actually mentioned what I do in my working life. I'm a social worker in a hospital. Have you ever heard teachers or nurses say things like "it must be a full moon!" when the kids in their classes, or patients in hospital, are acting up? The recent supermoon seemed to have an enhanced effect. Things were just over-the-top. I joked about being in the twilight zone (sense of humour = coping strategy), kept up my yoga routine, tried to take it easy in the evenings and went to bed earlier than usual but still, I am feeling completely drained and my throat feels like a hundred little razor blades. 

Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen

Between a really delicious turmeric carrot soup (which I promise to share very soon), lots of sauteed vegetables with brown rice pasta, a new falafel recipe (another recipe to share shortly), and this spin on cauliflower crust pizza - I'm trying to load up on healthy, immunity-boosting foods and doing my best to cut down on stress. Lots of resting, a couple days off work, and my best efforts at a shift in perspective have done a lot to help me feel a bit better. 

Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen

I hope this shift in seasons is only full of the beauty of early Autumn for you all. But if you are starting to feel under the weather, maybe a few extra doses of veggies will help you out too! 

Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen

I use a food processor to pull these recipes together in just a few minutes, but they are easy to make without it (see the fudge below to see how to do that). You can make the crust by instead finely chopping the cauliflower into small, rice-sized pieces, very finely chopping the pepitas, and then stirring the rest of the ingredients in to form the dough. I ground my chia seeds in a coffee grinder. When chia seeds are ground, you don't need to allow them time to soak to absorb. If you don't have a coffee grinder to do this for you, then use whole chia seeds and allow them to soak in the water for 15 minutes before adding to the recipe. 

Cauliflower & Pepita Crust Pizza (gluten & grain-free, nut-free, vegan)

3 tbsp ground chia seeds

6 tbsp warm water

1/2 c pepitas (equals 1/2 c + 2 tbsp once ground)

1 tbsp hemp hearts

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

3 c cauliflower florets (equals 2 1/2 c once coarsely ground)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp grapeseed oil

Toppings:

1 c prepared organic tomato sauce

2 big handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion

chili flakes, to serve (optional)

Set aside a baking sheet, and preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Baking directly on the baking sheet rather than on parchment paper helps the crust harden up a little so it stays together better. If you don't mind a softer crust and prefer the easy clean up of using parchment paper, than feel free to use it! Either way, this is the type of pizza you eat with a fork and knife. 

Stir ground chia and water together in the bottom of a medium mixing bowl and set aside. 

Pulse pepitas into a coarse flour; add to the chia mixture. Add all remaining ingredients except the cauliflower. 

Pulse the cauliflower using the food processor fitted with an S-blade into small pieces (do not pulse too finely as you don't want your cauliflower to be mushy). Add the cauliflower to the pepita mixture, and fold together with a spoon so that it's well-combined. 

With wet hands, shape the cauliflower dough into a large oval, about a 1/2" thick. Smooth with wet hands. Brush with 1 tsp grapeseed oil. 

Place in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes. 

Remove from oven, spread tomato sauce and top with roughly chopped spinach followed by halved cherry tomatoes. Scatter thinly sliced onions over top. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen
Cinnamon Almond Fudge - gluten free, grain free, vegan - My Natural Kitchen

Cinnamon Almond Fudge (raw, sugar-free, gluten free, vegan)

This treat is my attempt to recreate the delicious Almond Dream by Live (my favourite Toronto-based source of healthy foods).

1 c + 1/4 c almonds (activated and dried, if you like)

1/4 c + 1 tbsp coconut butter (also called creamed coconut)

1 tbsp + 2 tsp maple syrup or coconut nectar

3/4 tsp cinnamon plus extra to garnish

2 pinches of sea salt or fleur de sel, divided

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, set aside.

Food processor directions: Grind almonds in a food processor into almond butter, stopping every couple minutes to scrape down the sides with a spatula. Making almond butter will take about 10 minutes, and it doesn't matter if it's not perfectly smooth since you'll be mixing everything else into it. You'll have about 3/4 c almond butter. Add coconut butter, 2 tbsp whole almonds, maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt, and the cinnamon and pulse to combine (the almonds will become roughly chopped as you combine the mixture). Press the mixture into the parchment-lined pan. Using a sharp knife or the food processor, roughly chop the almonds. Press gently onto the fudge. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt or fleur de sel and extra cinnamon over top. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to set. Slice using a sharp knife, and store in the refrigerator. 

Directions without a food processor: Combine 3/4 c prepared almond butter with coconut butter, cinnamon, sea salt and maple syrup. Stir 2 tbsp roughly chopped almonds into the almond butter mixture. Press the mixture into prepared pan. Top with remaining 2 tbsp almonds, roughly chopped, as well as a pinch of salt and press gently into the top of the fudge. Lightly dust with cinnamon. Place in the freezer to set for 15 minutes. Slice using a sharp knife, and store in the refrigerator to keep cool. 

I'd love to hear from you, leave a comment to let me know you stopped by. Enjoy and stay healthy! xx 

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